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First, it's important to distinguish between two kinds of evil: moral evil and natural evil.Moral evil results from the actions of free creatures. Natural evil results from natural processes such as earthquakes and floods.
Certainly, God is capable of destroying evil--but not without destroying human freedom, or a world in which free creatures can function.
And most agree that this line of reasoning does successfully respond to the challenge of the logical problem of evil.
For what valid reason would a good and powerful God allow the amount and kinds of evil which we see around us? True, Scripture states that "with God all things are possible" (Mt. But Scripture also states that there are some things God cannot do. In other words, He cannot do anything that is "out of character" for a righteous God.
These issues are of an extremely important nature--not only as we seek to defend our belief in God, but also as we live out our Christian lives. Neither can He do anything that is out of character for a rational being in a rational world.
John Stott has said that "the fact of suffering undoubtedly constitutes the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith." It is unquestionably true that there is no greater obstacle to faith than that of the reality of evil and suffering in the world.
Indeed, even for the believing Christian, there is no greater test of faith than this--that the God who loves him permits him to suffer, at times in excruciating ways.
Here it is important first to recognize that we live in a fallen world, and that we are subject to natural disasters that would not have occurred had man not chosen to rebel against God.
Even so, it is difficult to imagine how we could function as free creatures in a world much different than our own--a world in which consistent natural processes allow us to predict with some certainty the consequences of our choices and actions. This is a natural process without which we could not possibly function as human beings, yet under some circumstances it is also capable of resulting in great harm.
Creatures who are free to follow His will must also be free to reject it.
And when people act in ways outside the will of God, great evil and suffering is the ultimate result.